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June 03, 2013

RMA survey: Only 1 in 6 check pressure

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has conducted a national survey that finds only one in six United States drivers is “tire smart” when it comes to checking tire pressure, women are less likely to be “tire smart” than men, and that younger drivers (18-39) are less likely to know basic tire care compared to older (60+) drivers.

The RMA conducted the survey to gauge motorists’ awareness about proper tire maintenance. Significant differences exist between men and women and also between younger and older drivers.

Release of the survey coincides with the RMA-sponsored “National Tire Safety Week,” an initiative within the group’s Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART consumer tire care education program.

Men are more likely than women to be “tire smart,” according to the survey.  About 20% of men and 14% of women are considered “tire smart.” The survey identifies “tire smart” drivers as those who know to check tire pressure monthly; know to check tires when they are cold (before driving) and; know where to find the correct inflation pressure for their vehicle’s tires on the information label on the driver’s door or door jamb or in the owner’s manual.

A more stark difference exists between generations with 27% of drivers aged 60 and older ranking as “tire smart,” while only 8% of drivers 18-39 know the basic tips for properly checking tire pressure.

RMA wants tire dealers to spread the word to consumers that underinflated tires pose a safety risk, waste fuel and cause premature tire wear.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes involving tires contribute to 195 fatalities annually. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that properly inflated tires can save about 11 cents a gallon at today’s gas prices.

To be tire smart, RMA suggests staying aware of the following:

  • pressure -- check tire pressure monthly with a tire gauge and inflate to vehicle manufacturer's recommended pressure;
  • alignment -- misalignment of wheels can cause uneven and rapid tread-wear;
  • rotation -- rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles to help you achieve more uniform wear; and
  • tread -- advanced and unusual wear can reduce the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse conditions.

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